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 Newslink              April 2000

 From the Clergy

Bishops and clergy are seen by the public as white-haired, middle-class men who wear dresses and are always after your money ... the established Church is an exclusive and out-of-date club with strange practices and rituals and dull services …

So reads the front page of The Times on 1st March. It is part of the spirit of the age that attacking the church has become fashionable. Only the other day I was talking to someone in the parish (who doesn’t come to church, of course!) who said of course, you’re fighting a losing battle in the Church, aren’t you?± I don’t for one moment think that being a priest is about fighting a battle, nor do I think it any sense that the church here is declining. Quite the reverse. There are marvellous examples of the Church engaging in all kinds of good work, there is good news± to be celebrated in every church  but sadly it doesn’t make the front page of The Times.

It is almost a year since I began as Vicar of St. Faith’s and St. Mary’s and during that time not only have I been made to feel extremely welcome and part of the Christian family but it has been encouraging to witness signs of hope and growth in both churches. In both churches we have welcomed new members of the congregation. Both Sunday Schools have increased in number and we have welcomed new people as Sunday School Teachers. We have more people serving as Eucharistic Ministers, Readers, servers and choir members. Only the other evening 18 people expressed a desire to share in the bereavement visiting and pastoral care of our parish. We hope next year to involve the laity in marriage preparation. We have 26 Confirmation Candidates from the two parishes being prepared for Confirmation in May. This doesn’t speak to me of a church which is on the decline at all. Despite what the newspapers say there is Good News± to be celebrated.

At the heart of the Easter message is the promise of New Life. For Christians that new life is the gift of eternal life: Christ’s victory over death. We are called to be a people who look forward and do so with hope and confidence. There’s enough misery in the world without coming to church for more of it!
Let this Easter be a time for us to celebrate and rejoice in all God’s gifts to us. We have much to be thankful for here at St Faith’s. But like the first disciples (who also were afraid of what the future might hold) we are called to move on; we are called to play our part in proclaiming the Gospel. The church is alive and well today because, from the time of the apostles, men and women have committed themselves to making Christ known. We are called to do the same. We are an Easter people with Good News to share.

With my love and prayers.

Fr. Neil

Quiet Day at St Stephen’s Hightown
SATURDAY 15th APRIL, 10 am - 3.30 pm

Led by the Venerable Timothy Raphael.

The Cross in Creation

This is an ideal opportunity to meet together for prayer, reflection and stillness as the great events of Holy Week begin. There will be time for people to have a walk, read a book or just generally relax! Please sign the list at the back of church if you wish to come.

Bereavement Visiting and Pastoral Care

A good number of people came to meet with Val Davies (Deanery Social worker) and to discuss the issue of bereavement visiting and pastoral care. Those wanting to share in this important ministry are asked to attend six training sessions at the Vicarage beginning on Tuesday 12th September. The sessions will begin at 8 pm and end at 9.30 pm. On All Souls± Day we will commission those who will share in this work. If you were not at the meeting but are interested in being involved please have a word with me.

Fr Neil

Notes from the Choir Stalls
Miriam Jones

Following Stephanie’s taster of Christmas music in December’s magazine, I hope that not too many of you were disappointed by the lack of Mozart’s Coronation Mass at Christmas Midnight Mass! However, a sudden change of plan, either by the omission or addition of varying pieces of music, is not unusual. Having had the privilege of being a chorister under the guidance of Graham Atherton, George Gilford, Mike Foy, Jane Williams (ne Greengrass) and now Ged Callacher, I can assure you that the (relatively) calm, composed exterior that the choir would like to convey often hides an underlying state of panic! Whilst we practise very hard on motets and music for each Sunday and celebration masses, we have not always known in advance what the hymns are likely to be. Any keen observer of the choir over the years may have noticed the odd raised eyebrow, puzzled (if not distasteful) glances shooting across the chancel when the organist plays the introduction to a lesser-known tune. The main advantage to a new hymn book or mass setting is that it makes us all aware that we are likely to be forced out of our comfort zone± of the old favourites, so we now all practice before or during the service, giving everyone an idea of what is to come. As Ged so succinctly puts it, dead easy  nice tune, isn’t it?! Once a melody has been taught to us, we have the opportunity of concentrating on the words we are singing to the glory of God.

The choir are now starting rehearsals for the services we are taking part in at Liverpool Cathedral on July 30 and at St George’s Chapel, Windsor on August 5  6, and for our own Centenary Celebrations in October. We will be singing mass settings by Vierne and Mozart (the afore-mentioned Coronation Mass). This will be, no doubt, hard work, but labours of which I, for one, am proud to be a part. I know that the family of St Faith’s realises it is fortunate to have a choir worthy to be invited to sing in other churches and cathedrals, but let me also assure you, that we, as a choir, are also well aware
of that fact and are honoured to represent St Faith’s, its music and tradition in such wonderful places or worship.

As Ian Dunning has stated in his most enjoyable series on choral singing, all newcomers are warmly welcomed. Singing music fit for worshipping God is most satisfying, whether it be in the congregation or the choir, and for me personally, certain aspects of prayer are most meaningful through the medium of music, even when we practise on a freezing cold Friday evening in the Chapel of the Cross!

Back to the original theme! Music for Lent includes Rutter`s All Things Bright and Beautiful± for Mothering (or Refreshment) Sunday, Tchaikovsky`s Crown of
Roses± on Good Friday, with Easter bringing wonderful offerings such as The Trumpet Shall Sound by Handel, along with Hallelujah from his Messiah: not to mention Stanford`s Jubilate and Te Deum± in B Flat. (All, of course, correct at the time of going to print!)

It matters not to what tunes or in which format the words take shape: the choir’s role is to help. Personal preferences must be put to one side in order for us to create a St Faith’s  for the future. All feedback about our music is appreciated. (Ged and the rest of us get a real boost if someone passes a compliment!)

I sincerely hope, on behalf of the choir, that the enjoyment we have in the preparation and performance of our music contributes in some way to the overall feeling that God is indeed being praised in this holy place.

Annual Parochial Meeting Sunday 9th April at 12 noon

The Annual Parochial Meeting is a part of the life of every Church of England Parish. It is an important chance to listen to the reports of different committees and groups within the parish, to ask questions and to think about our future life and mission. It is the time when we elect members of the Parochial Church Council, Churchwardens, and this year, for the first time, we will be electing two Deputy Churchwardens. Although Deputy Churchwardens are not a legal requirement (as Churchwardens are), nevertheless many churches have them and they can play an important role in sharing the tasks and duties and supporting the Churchwardens in their role. Please make every effort to attend this meeting.

May Devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Festal Evensong, Sermon, Procession and Solemn Te Deum
Sunday 7th May 2000 at 6 pm.

Music:  Canticles  Stanford in C
 Ave Maria  Stravinsky
 Te Deum  Stanford in B flat

Preacher: The Very Reverend Monsignor John Furnival
Parish Priest of SS Peter and Paul, Crosby
Followed by refreshments.

A Reflection for Eastertide Fr Dennis

Easter for us should be the great Festival of Openness. The great stone which sealed the tomb has been rolled back  now the vault is open for all to enter and see!  The crucified Christ, laid to rest in the tomb, is no longer there. The cross of defeat has become the sign and the hope of victory. In the words of the poet Robert Herrick, We need fear the Cross no more!±

Suffering, defeat, and death itself are held fast in the open generosity of God’s love. If we look outside at nature and creation, the glorious weather tells us its own resurrection story; the sunshine has set off a spring of immense power and love, whose glory sweeps away winter. As Martin Luther wrote, God has written the resurrection story not in books, but in every leaf of springtime!±

Easter, the queen of festivals, expresses eloquently the inexhaustible love, openness, and generosity of God; all leads us back to that central fact of God’s grace and mercy. Easter is not about exclusiveness, but about openness. It demands of us our naked trust in that naked gift of God’s love, expressed through the cross. Sadly we brush aside the question of the cross, and want to stay with the God we feel comfortable with and whom we can do business with±. But we cannot omit the symbol of the cross, nor think only of a God who will be relevant±, and whom we think will be pleased with our bustle of religious professionalism.

The Easter event is a divine beginning; the cross is redefined with Christ’s arms outstretched openly in love for all creation and all creatures. Let us take out the message in the words penned by John Donne: Blow the trumpets and arise from death!±

Easter calls for an honesty and an openness with God. Easter calls for an openness about our ministry as Christians; it calls for openness one to another, and a refusal to cover up. Rather, to abandon ourselves both to, and for, the other, so that all may have access and the opportunity of entering into the tomb, so that they too may see and believe.

There must be therefore, an acceptance, a sharing and a living, a time for laughter and for tears, but all under God. Let us gladly allow others to peer in and look; we must not monopolize God by false religiosity nor vague sprituality  let us not block the entrance, but keep it open, for Easter is the festival of openness  and never closing.

Then and then only will the holy, the divine, be set free from human boundaries and man-made conditions. Easter sets us free from our false picture of a manic and obsessive God, and a stuffy religion of the airless vault, where there is no light  and hence no growth. We must not cling to the old just for the sake of it, lest God is robbed of life and openness by our all-too-human web of management and administration. Let us not make our faith a defended fortress of self-satisfied religion, but something of open imagination, where all is held in trust under God. Let us allow God room to move, to act, to overcome!

The Easter story celebrates the power of God, the generosity of God, the love of God  and the openness of God. What we so often fear is our staleness, our incompetence, our vulnerability, our suffering and pain; but these inabilities are our strengths when we learn to rely upon God. Nothing is more destructive and contrary to the Easter story than the assurance, the arrogance, that we can cope on our own. Let us be open to God’s word and his Love, and be suffused by him. Above all, let us think of the empty tomb as being the open tomb, for here is a positive title  the tomb is open, it allows us to go in; let us clear the path for others, and clear our own inner vault to allow the power of God’s love and light to shine in, to strengthen and to enable.

As that great preacher Leslie Weatherhead said, The supreme message of resurrection is not the event itself, but the power of God’s openness and his love.

Yes, Easter is the festival of openness. Let us roll back the stone of arrogance and proclaim Christ is Risen! not in word only, but in example of life and living.

You Couldn’t Make it Up...

The Anglican Dean of St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town, the Very Rev Rowan Smith, is facing demands for him to step down after he appeared in a gay rights advertisement with a devil’s tail under his vestments... The film has caused an uproar within the Anglican Church, and Mr Smith was summoned to a meeting with the Archbishop of Cape Town, Njongonkulu Ndundange, at which he apologised. The video was withdrawn.
The Daily Telegraph, February 14

R.I.P Audrey Jones  Chris Price

Everyone at St Faith’s was saddened by the recent death of Audrey Jones, a faithful and much-loved member of the church family. I was privileged to be asked to deliver the address at her funeral on February 28th, extracts from which are reproduced below in tribute to a friend whom we will miss greatly.

When the day that Mr Valiant for Truth must go hence was come, many accompanied him to the river side, into which as he went he said: Death, where is thy sting? And as he went down deeper, he said Grave, where is thy victory? So he passed over, and all the trumpets sounded for him on the other side.

Audrey Jones was a very special lady and valiant for truth  there’s no doubt about that. We are here today to say farewell to her as she passes over, and to give thanks for a brave, strong and colourful lady who graced the lives of her family, of her friends and of this church  and woe betide anyone who disagrees with that: it was best not to argue with Audrey Jones in life, and wisest not to do so even now! Brave, in the way she fought with cancer and stubbornly held the pain at bay so brilliantly and for so long after, as she felt, some had written her off. Strong in her unflagging support for her family over the long years after her husband’s death. Colourful in her life-style, and not least in how she dressed. The red hat on the coffin today is a symbol of her whole attitude to life, as are the cheerful and un-funereal accessories we were bidden to wear to this service, the celebratory cover and the bright pages of the order of service itself and, I am sure, the tone and the mood of the bit of a do± at which the family very much hope everyone will join them after the service.

Audrey was brought up a stout and fervent Unitarian at Ullet Road Church in Liverpool, and later worshipped and sang in the choir for many years at Crosby Congregational Church before trying out St Faith’s to see what we were making such a fuss about. Fr Charles, Fr Peter and Fr Richard, and a succession of curates, especially Fr Dennis and Fr Peter Cavanagh all made her welcome here as they tried to argue her out of the theological beliefs of her previous churches to accommodate the heresies of the Trinity, and the eccentricities of Anglo-Catholicism. She came increasingly to love St Faith’s, its priests, its people and its worship, and supported the life and worship of this church with faithful love and great generosity, and it is right and proper, and a source of joy, that she is with us today for the last time on this earth before the altar to which she came so faithfully, on Sundays and weekdays, for so many years.

She would have loved  no, she surely is loving!  the colour, the ritual, and the music today: she always enjoyed the big occasions, and we are singing some of her favourite hymns, and ours. She had for many years sung in the Phil choir, and regaled us with tales of Sir Malcolm Sargent and other great names from the past. She had a deep love of classical and religious music.  Not that she liked everything: Brahms and her beloved Elgar were definitely in, but what she called diddle-diddle music± was out (I’m sure Vivaldi will understand). She loved poetry, and she loved the theatre. And she loved people, and was wonderful with them. Beneath what might seem at first a formidable exterior she was a friend and confidante to many: someone easy to talk to, to whom you could bring your troubles  and could count as a friend in need. She was special.

And so we say goodbye to Audrey in this life, and prepare to continue with the Eucharist which she believed, and we believe too, unites all who share in it on this earth and beyond the grave. We are compassed about today with a great cloud of witnesses, and now she is one of that number. She would not want us to grieve for her today or in the days to come, but to be thankful, as we are, that in the end God, who had given her a life full of love and goodness, spared her the long painful months that might have been her lot, and arranged, I am sure, with Audrey that she should slip away quickly, quietly and without a fuss or any difficult goodbyes  leaving us to remember her as she was for all the years of her long life that we knew her: cheerful, positive and indomitable. I count myself privileged, but also more than happy, to have been asked to speak of Audrey today. We have lost one whom we will all miss very much, but we thank God for her life and her faithful witness, and are happy that at the end she rests with God. Goodbye Audrey: you were indeed a very special person, and we loved you. For you all the trumpets surely sounded on the other side. May you rest in peace and rest in glory.

From the Registers

27 February Barbara Hollis

28 February  Audrey Jones
2 March Kay Armstrong

Introducing the new
Bio-Optic Organised Knowledge device,
tradename - BOOK.

BOOK is a revolutionary break-through in technology: no wires, no electric circuits, no batteries, nothing to be connected or switched on. It’s so easy to use, even a child can operate it.

Compact and portable, it can be used anywhere  even sitting in an armchair by the fire  yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM disc.

BOOK is constructed of sequentially-numbered sheets of paper (recyclable), each capable of holding thousands of bits of information. The pages are locked together with a custom-fit device called a binder which keeps the sheets in their correct sequence.

Opaque Paper Technology (OPT) allows manufacturers to use both sides of the sheet, doubling the information density and cutting costs. Experts are divided on the prospects for further increases in information density; for now, BOOKS with more information simply use more pages. Each sheet is scanned optically, registering information directly into the brain. A flick of the finger takes you to the next sheet.

BOOK may be taken up at any time and used merely by opening it.

BOOK never crashes or need rebooting, though, like other devices, it can become damaged if coffee is spilled on it and it becomes unusable if dropped too many times on a hard surface or in the bath. The browse± feature allows you to move instantly to any sheet, and move backwards and forwards as you wish. Many come with an index± feature, which pinpoints the exact location of any selected information for instant retrieval.

You can also make personal notes next to BOOK text entries with optional programming tools, Portable Erasable Nib Cryptic Intercommunicational Language Styli (PENCILS)

Microdots protect Church Valuables

Church Security is coming free in a bottle. To release the genie, unscrew the silver cap with built-in wand and dab your valuables with adhesive lacquer, using a slight rolling action  a technique similar to applying mascara.

Floating in the clear varnish are dozens of microdots, each containing a central telephone number and a unique PIN number. Each kit contains enough microscopic dots to brush on to 50 valuable items. The varnish dries in 20 minutes and the microdots become hard to remove, even if they are spotted, being the size of this full stop.

The Alpha.Dot system has been developed in close consultation with the Police Scientific Development Branch. The Ecclesiastical Insurance Group (EIG) is supplying it free to the 16,000 churches and cathedrals it insures: more than 90% of all churches in England and Wales. Only police or art dealers armed with special magnifiers can read the dots. Trade in this type of goods will become a very dangerous activity for the dishonest person, said Nicholas Dearsley, managing director of Alpha Scientific Ltd, which manufactures the system.

EIG settled 1833 claims as a result of theft from churches during 1998, at a cost of £1.4 million. Toby Barker of EIG was full of enthusiasm for Alpha.Dot, (which normally retails at £24.95 per kit), at its launch at the end of November. The great thing about it is that it doesn’t spoil the aesthetic value of the item being marked, he said. This is the largest ever security-marking initiative to the Anglican Church.

Cheap at the Price?

A recent exhibition at the Tate Gallery, Liverpool, had the title of HEAVEN, in which artists expressed their contemporary ideas of heaven (in rather different terms than the usual spiritual ones!)

The receipt for admission intriguingly read

 HEAVEN: Concession £2.00


April Wind
Damian Lundy

The wind was cold one April morning,
And the sun was hid in heaven.
They took a man one April morning,
And while he said goodbye,
Blew the wind in April.

They took a man one April morning,
And the sun was hid in heaven,
They drove the nails into his fingers,
And while he said goodbye,
Blew the wind in April.

They murdered love one April morning,
And the sun was hid in heaven,
The sky grew black, the rain came falling,
And while he said goodbye,
Blew the wind in April.

They laid his body in a garden,
And the sun was hid in heaven,
They went away till Sunday morning,
And while they said goodbye,
Blew the wind in April.

The sun shone high on Sunday morning,
Yes, the sun shone high in heaven,
He said goodbye, goodbye to sleeping,
And while he said goodbye,
Blew the wind in April.

And there he stood one April morning,
And the sun shone high in heaven,
He stood and smiled one April morning,
And when he smiled again,
Blew the wind in April.

I am the Great Sun
Charles Causley

I am the great sun, but you do not see me,
I am your husband, but you turn away.
I am the captive, but you do not free me,
I am the captain you will not obey.

I am the truth, but you will not believe me,
I am the city where you will not stay,
I am your wife, your child, but you will leave me,
I am that God to whom you will not pray.

I am your counsel, but you do not hear me,
I am the lover whom you will betray,
I am the victor, but you do not cheer me,
I am the holy dove whom you will slay.

I am your life, but if you will not name me,
Seal up your soul with tears, and never blame me.

Because the Snow
Clive Sansom

Because the snow clears in the valleys,
Leaving white lanes by the hedges
And moist clumps of primrose under the deep banks;

Because the fields lie green after the thaw,
And the young corn shows,
Pushing in trust to the promised sun;
Because the lambs
Race and dance on the buoyant grass,
Without thought, without cause;
Because I love and am loved,
Confirmed in belief
Against the world and reason’s tyranny -
Because of these, I know  I know
The moment’s faith outlogics fact and time,
And the heart’s truth  is truth.

The Bakerwoman
Herbert Richards

The bakerwoman  in her humble lodge
Received a grain of wheat from God.
The grain she stored.
Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
Make us the bread, Mary, Mary.
Make us the bread. We need to be fed.

The bakerwoman took the road which led
To Bethlehem, the house of bread.
To knead the bread she laboured through the night,
And brought it forth about midnight.
Bake us the bread, Mary Mary.
Bake us the bread.  We need to be fed.

She baked the bread for thirty years
By the fire of her love and the salt of her tears,
By the warmth of a heart so tender and bright,
And the bread was golden brown and white.
Bring us the bread, Mary, Mary.
Bring us the bread.  We need to be fed.

After thirty years  the bread was done.
It was taken to town  by her own son;
The soft white bread to be given free
To the hungry people of Galilee.
Give us the bread, Mary, Mary.
Give us the bread.  We need to be fed.

For thirty coins the bread was sold,
And a thousand teeth so cold, so cold
Tore it to pieces on a Friday noon
and red the moon.
Break us the bread, Mary, Mary.
Break us the bread. We need to be fed.

And when she saw the bread so white,
The living bread she had made  at night,
Devoured as wolves might devour a sheep,
The bakerwoman began to weep.
Weep for the bread, Mary, Mary.
Weep for the bread. We need to be fed.

But the basewoman’s only son
Appeared to his friends  when three days had run
On the road which to Emmaus led,
And they knew him in the breaking of bread.
Lift up your head, Mary, Mary.
Lift up your head.  For now we’ve been fed.

The Donkey
G K Chesterton

When fishes flew and forests walked
   And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
   Then surely I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening cry
   and ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
   On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
   Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
   I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
   One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
   and palms before my feet.

Good Friday
Elizabeth Noller

The sixth hour strikes. Dear God,
The wind blows chill,
As darkness, eerie, still,
Surrounds the Cross upon that lonely hill.

Your Son hangs there, dear God,
Denied, forlorn,
His body scourged and torn;
Stripped, whipped  all this for our sins borne.

What can we do? Dear God,
What can we say?
Can any gift of ours repay
One jot the love He gave? We can but pray.

Receive our prayers, dear God,
And though we plead
Our own and others± need,
Today His sacrifice must claim our heed.

Easter Morning
John Axon

New Lord newly risen
Rise now newly
In our lives
That we may rise anew
That we may taste
The joy of loving
Living love
That we may share
The love of risen joy
That we may live
A life renewed.

Chris Price

At this season, more than any other,
They step forward from the darkness,
Thronging the margins of the mind.
Silently they rise up from the grave of memory:
Some who have left their mark on this place and on us _
Long-past worshippers congregating again,
A parent mourned, a friend lost to the dark;
Others known only to their God:
Taken in their multitudes before their time
By man’s inhumanity to man.

Their faces haunt us, their presence as real
As the heavy clustered lilies given in their memory,
Before they slip away into the shadows,
Back to the borders of oblivion.
But their death is only a beginning
And our lamenting will have an end
In the certain hope of the resurrection,
The new fire, the fanfare of faith,
When the past and the present come once more together
And all things are made whole again in God.

Surely ...

Easter, 1995

The Events Forum  Chris Price

As outlined in an earlier Newslink, the Centenary Committee  originally a spontaneous self-appointed group which met during our legendary long interregnum to co-ordinate the happenings at that time  can now be seen as having completed its brief (with sincere thanks to all who helped it to do so). It has been decided, however, that its pattern of informal, lay-led planning discussions should be continued into the future, as a focus for events and, especially at present, as a means of finding ways to meet our financial needs. And so the Centenary Committee lives on as the EVENTS FORUM! It will, of course, report back to, and take its authority from, the PCC, but will be a continuing think tank± to which people bring ideas (and usually go away to do something about them!).

The first Forum met recently, and readers may find this outline of its happenings useful. We heard of the forthcoming Images of Faith event on April 1st, and learnt that the Wall Hangings programme had been revised to produce two large hangings (one for each half of our first century) to be hung on the aisle walls.

Fr Neil spoke of the formation of a group of five people offering their expertise and enthusiasm to bringing forward plans for our Hall Development  and then we turned to crisis fundraising! Joyce Green and Joan Tudhope offered to organise two (or more) Car-boot-type± Table Sales in the Hall (Saturdays May 13th and June 17th). Our people, and of course outsiders, would take tables: the latter would be charged for tables; the former, we hope, would donate their proceeds. The spectre of the Bazaar (successfully postponed for some years) now stalked the room; we would have to hold one, it would be on 21st October, and Geoff Moss would be asked to mastermind it, with others helping in the planning and execution. It would have a theme, with helpers dressed appropriately, and there would be a Bouncy Castle and, it was hoped, major youth involvement.

Other events (and contacts/organisers!) featured a Messiah± Sing-in (Margaret Sadler) on December 9th, a September Barn Dance (Rosie Walker), a String Quartet Concert (Denis Whalley) and, on April 23rd a Quiz Night (Rick Walker and the Men’s Group). Other events, like the Dinner Merry-go-Round were already in the Diary. There was a need to form a catering group to spread the workload at our events, whether fundraising, social or both.

We also talked at large about maximising planned giving, especially in the light of the forthcoming relaxation of the Gift Aid tax regulations: it was strongly felt that, as well as the vital task of closing the current gap between planned expenditure and likely income (possibly as much as þ200 EACH WEEK!) we needed to increase regular giving so that we can budget more confidently for the future and, even more importantly, be able to respond to the needs of others through charity, good causes and appeal giving.

Finally, we looked at the forthcoming expanded series of Saturday church openings and recitals. A sub-group of helpers would meet soon with Audrey Dawson to plan the logistics for these and to consider improving facilities.

The meeting fizzed with ideas and gave all of us great encouragement for the future. The Events Forum will meet every six weeks or so at 17 Queens Road: the next brainstorming session will be on March 28th at 8.00 pm. We very much hope that everyone who has ideas and/or wants to help in any way will feel free to drop in, whether or not they have done so in the past. We welcomed two new faces last time and hope to see many more. Your ideas count, so see you on 28th and thereafter ...

Barbara Hollis R.I.P.

I wish to thank the family of St Faith’s for the many expressions of sympathy I received at the time of Barbara’s passing.

Thanks to Fr Neil for his prompt response to my call, and his assistance in helping me to fulfill Barbara’s wishes. More especially for making Candlemass a memorable occasion, and her funeral a fitting tribute from Canon Capper. My family and I are sincerely grateful. God bless you all.

Ken Hollis

Images of Faith

An evening of drama, poetry, comedy and music on a Christian theme.
Compiled and directed by Dr John Gill; narrated by Chris Price
In St Faith’s on Saturday 1st April at 7.30 pm.
Admission by free ticket.

Youth Slot!   Jackie Parry

You may remember a few months ago Fr Neil wrote in Newslink about the prospect of appointing two Under-18`s Co-ordinators; one based at St Faith’s and one at St Mary’s. The role of Under 18`s Co-ordinator is primarily to help with our ongoing commitment to working with children and families, to promote our vision of having more contact with the local community, and we hope encouraging more young people and families to attend St Faith’s and St Mary’s. These positions were duly appointed to me for St Faith’s and Lynne Connolly for St Mary’s.

The first meeting was held on 31 January 2000 in the Vicarage. The number of people attending? Well, er... three actually; Fr Neil, Lynne and myself! The focus of this meeting was to discuss youth involvement in both St Faith’s and St Mary’s parishes. Of note, the following points were agreed upon:

· Lynne and I are now to be known as Youth Co-ordinators.
·A  youth report±  from  each  Youth  Co-ordinator  is to be included in  every  PCC meeting, if possible.
· Youth Co-ordinators to attend meetings  regarding  children involvement  in the parish.
· During the week previous to Parade Services, Youth Co-ordinators will visit each youth organisation with information regarding the service, and enquiring if any children would like to be included in the service in any way, eg. prayers, readings etc.
· A Cheese and Wine evening is to be held in Vicarage for everyone from St Faith’s and St Mary’s who are involved in children’s organisations within the parish. More information to follow.
· Child’s Talk leaflet - Sunday School leaders are to be given relevant information as available.
· There should be a YOUTH SLOT! in every magazine, if possible, giving up-to- date information regarding the youth in both parishes. (Excellent! Ed.)
· Confirmation candidates (any children School Year 5 and upwards). To date there are 20 children going for Confirmation. Fr Neil is to take children’s classes, me to assist!
· Youth Co-ordinator meetings to be held monthly. Dates of next three meetings  Thursday 9 March, Monday 10 April and 16 May 2000.
· Lynne and I, and anyone interested, will attend relevant courses as and when available.

I felt this was a good beginning to our work in youth ministry and as you can see a lot was discussed. I know it’s early days yet, but I think that my role as Youth Co-ordinator is going to be both challenging and rewarding, and, as mad as it may seem to many ... I can’t wait to get started! So, watch this space!

To conclude, you might like a poem received from one of my internet friends, Jennifer, from Colorado, USA

· Plant three rows of peas:
 Peace of mind
 Peace of heart
 Peace of soul

· Plant four rows of squash:
 Squash gossip
 Squash indifference
 Squash grumbling
 Squash selfishness

· Plant four rows of lettuce:
 Lettuce be faithful
 Lettuce be kind
 Lettuce be happy
 Lettuce really love one another

· No garden should be without turnips:
 Turnip for service when needed
 Turnip to help one another
 Turnip the music and dance

· Water freely with patience and
 Cultivate with love.
 There is much fruit in your garden
 Because you reap what you sow.

· To conclude our garden, we must have thyme:
 Thyme for fun
 Thyme for rest
 Thyme for ourselves

Something Old, Something New
Stephanie Dunning

How can you...
 · listen to such trash
 · dress so appallingly
 · mix with those people?

We’ve all heard it and resolved never to say it to our own children. And we all do. It’s the chief cliché of the cycle of life, and naturally the new generation responds scornfully. What is it about us that makes us condemn something for being too old or too new?

Fred Nye’s excellent sermon on the new wine (published in last month’s magazine, and proof positive that despite the frustrating near-inaudibility to the choir of anything miked and projected towards the congregation  we feel rather isolated at times, actually  we do endeavour to listen and reflect) impressed me and rammed home the vitality and controversy of the Gospel we are bound to proclaim. I agree wholeheartedly with its sentiments and reassure Fred that I have got the point and that what follows is not intended as a narrow interpretation of his words.

But what about the good things that the past has to offer, those things we can learn from? Regular visitors to the Continent will know that it is the old wine which is reverenced, while the new, yet to mellow, has its own virtues (Beaujolais Nouveau?) but is still a little raw. What is really old± or new± anyway? At eleven or twelve, my son and peers are singing the Abba, Don McLean and Terry Jacks that I loved thirty years ago. Much of our new± hymn book is familiar to me from the services at my own Roman Catholic convent school.

The new liturgy, services and music to which Fr. Neil has introduced us are a major enrichment of our worship, sweeping away our complacency and making us aware of the message once more. However, like the old, they have their good and bad points. A bass of my intimate acquaintance has been known to mutter that a five-strong superb section could do with something more challenging than unison to sing, and I  perversely  miss the dubious pleasure of attempting to walk and read music simultaneously at the end of a service! None of this prevents us from giving our utmost commitment to our worship.

I think, though, that in this frenzy of the New Millennium we need a touch of the old as well. Our favourite hymns and anthems on special occasions, the fabulous Vierne which we are taking to Liverpool Cathedral and St. George’s Windsor in the summer (you’ll love it). Many people out there need the occasional reassurance of the old liturgy in order to fully embrace the new.

I want to keep both ends of the spectrum: vintage port and Beaujolais, Beatles and Oasis, street football and Playstation. All are divine gifts. It didn’t dilute Jesus± message when he conveyed it to others by means of the ever-relevant truths in the Commandments, and we, his vessels, gain from this valid mingling of the old and the new. The buildings, art and music of the past point the differences between, but also the innate similarities in our ways of life, and the one constant  God. Our New Commandment exhorts change, but we need to retain our awareness of what we were.

So let’s not dismiss the old wine-skins out of hand. Even if their contents do look strangely akin to bathwater!

Confirmation   2000

Please remember in your prayers all those preparing for Confirmation.

FROM ST FAITH`S ... Bing Bagley, David Dunning, Nicholas Evans, Sarah Fletcher, Carole Hobson, Catherine Hockney, Mike Homfray, Victoria Macoy, Robin Morrisey, Charlotte Mulholland, James Parry, Oliver Pfeiffer, Doreen Plevin, Claire Robinson, Heather Shillitoe, Lawrence West.
FROM ST MARY`S ... James Ducker, Laura Ducker, Gemma Landers, Margie Lloyd, Rachel Lloyd, Claire Martin, John Miers, Ruth Morrisey, Diane Murphy, India Murphy, Yasmin Murphy.

The Confirmation will take place in the Cathedral on Thursday 18th May at 7.30 pm. Please note the date and come along to support our candidates.

Evans Above!  Chris Price

Further revelations from Evans Sketches: Rita Woodley`s  fascinating little book of portraits of the many eccentric and intriguing denominational practices to be found, or once to be found, in the British religious landscape.

Perhaps not everyone has heard of the SABELLIANS (in case you’ve forgotten, they reduce the three  persons in the Trinity to three characters or relations). ARIANS are slightly more familiar, although not everyone knows that there are High and Low Arians, although the lack of such knowledge seems less important when we read that as a professed system, Arianism is now nearly extinct.

Certainly not extinct is the KIRK OF SCOTLAND. Evans writes at length on them and various other Scottish denominations, with lurid details of the harshness and the violence their members have visited upon each other. The EPISCOPALIANS (today our sister communion north of the border) received an Archbishop of St Andrews±, one Sharp, from the Presbyterians. He, with the zeal of the converted, perhaps, adopted violent measures which terminated in his death. Nine ruffians (Evans doesn’t say if they were Presbyterian ruffians: maybe they were yet another sect...) stopped his coach, assassinated him, and left his body covered with thirty-two wounds!± As Evans says, the ear tingles and the heart is agonized by such dreadful scenes.  Two poor women condemned to die for their religion were fastened down to a stake in the river when the tide was at its lowest ebb; the waves then gradually returned to suffocate their cries against this new species of the inhumanity of their persecutors. They gravely determined upon this method of capital punishment, because burning at the stake was adopted by the papists; for they abhorred even the most distant approach towards the practices of popery!

Compared to these, other Sottish splinter groups like the SECEDERS, the ANTI-BURGHERS and the RELIEF CHURCH seem merely eccentric. And one positively welcomes the gentle protestations of the QUAKERS, one of whose testimonies proclaims that for the sake of the faith I have been made willing to relinquish and forsake all the vain fashions, enticing pleasures, alluring honours and glittering glories of this transitory world, and readily to accept the portion of a fool from this deriding generation, and become a man of sorrow, and a perpetual reproach to my familiars.± At least he was unikely to stab or submerge those who disagreed with him!

The peculiar practices come thick and fast in Evans± pages. The SANDEMANIANS practice abstinence from blood and things strangled, while the HUTCHINSONIANS believe that the air exists in three conditions, fire light and spirit: the bit we enjoy apparently becomes grosser and grosser until it becomes stagnant. And then there are the MYSTICS, who aspire to passive contemplation. Their chief apostle seems to have been a Madame Guyon, who made a great noise in the religious world. Fenelon, the amiable Archbishop of Cambray, favoured the sentiments of this female devotee, for which he was reprimanded by the Pope.

The JOHNSONIANS are so called from the late Mr J. Johnson, many years a respectable dissenting minister in Liverpool. They are dismissed as having no men of learning among them and of being much in the habit of conversing together on religious subjects. Their greatest fault is their bigotry... (no place for them in Liverpool today, then, Ed.) The HALDANITES were great preachers, it would appear, since Mr Haldane`s brother was obliged to desist from preaching on account of bursting a blood vessel.

SHAKERS baffle even Mr Evans: the characteristic opinions of the sect are wrapped up in a kind of technical phraseology nearly incomprehensible to plain understandings. The work is neatly written, but fraught with a spirit of mystical obscurity. Evans devotes many earnest pages to this sect, and we end with his views on their views on marriage. They are neither TRINITARIANS nor SATISFACTIONISTS. The tenets on which they dwell most are those of human depravity; and of the miraculous effusion of the Holy Ghost! Their leading practical tenet is the abolition of Marriage, or indeed the total separation of the sexes. The essence of their argument is, that the resurrection spoken of in the New Testament means nothing more than conversion; our Saviour declares that in the Resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, therefore on conversion or the resurrection of the individual, Marriage ceases !!! (a rare example in Evans of the triple exclamation mark. Ed.) To speak more plainly, the single must continue single and the married must separate. Every passage in the Gospel and in the Epistles is interpreted according to this strange, and I may add unnatural hypothesis. But these Shakers shall speak for themselves; it requires some sagacity to ascertain what they believe, and a still greater degree of patience to detail what they practise.